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Sciatica - a true pain in the butt!

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

If you are unlucky enough to have suffered from Sciatic pain at some stage in your life, you will undoubtedly understand how painful, frustrating and debilitating this condition is. The good news is that in many cases, Bowen Therapy can make a huge difference in your symptoms.

Sciatic pain basically refers to a pain in the leg due to irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain usually starts in the lower back or bottom and radiates down one or both legs - particularly down the back or side of the leg and can extend as far as your foot.

Sciatic pain can vary in nature - it can be intensely painful, numb, feel like pins and needles or can even cause weakness in the affected leg.

The pain does not discriminate who it affects - I have seen young healthy athletes, pregnant women, tradesmen, sedentary office workers as well as elderly clients come to my clinic for help with their symptoms.

There are many different reasons for this pain to develop, and for this reason, as Bowen Therapists we assess first to find the reason for the pain. Orthopaedic assessments (like your Doctor, surgeon or physio may use) helps me to clarify if this pain is likely to be coming from a serious disc nerve irritation, or from a soft tissue or muscular spasm. Your Bowen treatment is individually tailored to what I find as I assess.

The most common causes for Sciatic pain that I see on a regular basis include -

Muscular - Your Sciatic nerve is large - in fact it's around the width of your little finger! This is sizeable considering the size of your muscles and fascia (connective tissue) surrounding your sciatic nerve as it leaves your spinal column and runs through your bottom on its descent down your leg. Any significant change in tension in those muscles in your bottom can really exert pressure on the nerve. Most commonly, a very tight piriformis muscle is the culprit! The sciatic nerve can run through the middle of this muscle in up to 20% of people. This can be very easily identified by your Bowen Therapist and relaxing this muscle can have an immediate improvement in pain reduction.

Image credit goes to Centro Guel.

Pregnancy related - An ever growing baby and it's movement within the pelvis provides an increase in pressure on surrounding tissues which can easily irritate the sciatic nerve. Bowen Therapy can provide quick and easy relief of pregnancy related sciatic pain.

Poor posture and long term repetition of movements can lead to overactive and under active muscles. Analysing your posture and assessing which muscle groups need help relaxing and which require strengthening is really important. A series of Bowen sessions can identify these patterns, release tight tissue and along with some home exercises to stretch or strengthen can help you get back to normal function.

Spinal Stenosis - Narrowing of the internal spinal canal can cause compression of the nerve leading to static symptoms.

Bulging Discs - can cause sciatic symptoms when the disc bulge is large enough to irritate or compress the Sciatic nerve where it exits the spinal cord.

These last 2 causes of Sciatic pain are potentially the most serious and are diagnosed by Medical Practitioners by CT or MRI scan. The most serious cases are offered surgery (such as Micro-discectomy) to shave away part of the outside of the disc in order to relieve pressure on the impinged nerve. Doctors routinely offer anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, painkillers aimed at nerve pain as well as CT guided steroid injections to treat this condition.

I have seen remarkable instances of pain reduction of Sciatic pain after just a few Bowen Sessions. One of my favourite cases involved a previously very active gent in his late 70's who had suffered with severe and constant pain and burning down 1 leg for 6 months. He had seen a Neurosurgeon, had diligently attended Physio, was taking 2 heavy duty painkillers aimed at dulling the nerve pain and was unable to participate in his favourite sport which had previously meant everything to him. He tells me he had had up to 20 targeted steroid spinal injections. He was frustrated, miserable and was ready to give up when his GP put him in touch with me. We worked at releasing the muscles in the front and side of his groin, relaxing his overactive and tense back and hip muscles and improving his posture. By the end of his 3rd treatment he was painfree. With his doctors guidance he stopped the pain killers and to his friends amazement, he resumed his sport - his Mojo was back - as was his life!

If you suffer from Sciatic pain, and have not had relief from other treatments, then don't give up! Bowen may be just what you need to get rid of that pain in your butt!

For enquiries, you can reach me at Noosa Bowen Centre on 0421 471 012.

Nat x

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